21.05
2019

The Advanced Aspects of GPS Tracking in Encore

The GPS Tracking feature in Encore is a multifaceted tool that uses advanced solutions such as Breadcrumb Trails, Traffic Overlay, and Geofences to provide companies with ways to save. Each of these aspects do this by working to increase efficiency and security even further for businesses that employ a mobile workforce.

Breadcrumb Trails

Past routes that mobile employees have taken to job sites are recorded and presented on Encore’s map through Breadcrumb Trails. Any time a driver travels to a location during working hours, their business vehicle’s position is picked up and archived in the system’s memory. Company supervisors can then go back and review trip histories to enhance accountability and verify job completion.

Traffic Overlay

At the beginning of each work day, administrators in a company’s home office can also use Traffic Overlay to see near real-time congestion patterns on roadways. By identifying the most traffic-heavy routes to job sites prior to travel, companies can help their mobile employees avoid excessive idling, save time and fuel, and reach customer locations faster.

Geofences

Geofences help businesses improve fleet and asset security, employee accountability, and quality control, all at once. These are digital boundaries that can be custom constructed on Encore’s live view map around job sites in the field. Geofences are used in tandem with Alerts to electronically notify managers whenever an asset, employee, or vehicle enters or exits set perimeters, providing an extra layer of surveillance for their valuable equipment. In addition to better theft prevention, geofence monitoring helps organizations ensure that their workers are arriving to and leaving assignment destinations right on schedule.

These three aspects of GPS Tracking in Encore give companies like yours even more ways to save time and money. Through providing increased detail about your workforce’s daily routine, Breadcrumb Trails, Traffic Overlay, and Geofences can help you run a more effective operation.

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08.05
2019

The Cost of Idling

We all know that idling is very costly, but is there an actual dollar amount attached to letting a car sit with the engine on for extended periods of time? We found out in a recent case study that idling can cost up to $20,000 per year in fuel for companies with a fleet of vehicles. That’s a lot of money, but if your business operates in New York City, idling could cost you nearly that much in an afternoon. Plus, citizens could be motivated to report when your vehicles are idling.

New York City recently enacted legislation that would pay citizens up to 50 percent of the summons revenue for turning in vehicles in violation of idling. According to an article in the New York Post, the bill stipulates that citizens be trained by the Department of Environmental Protection in order to profit for their help. Citizens would then need video evidence of a vehicle idling to receive compensation.

Under the proposed bill a first-time violation is punishable by warning, but second offenses would be between $350 and $1,500 and subsequent fines could cost as much as $2,000 for vehicles.

However, those fines are nothing compared to the Heavy Duty Vehicle Idling Laws currently in place in the state of New York. Heavy-duty vehicles, including diesel trucks and buses, can be fined from $500 to $18,000 in the case of a first violation after five minutes of idling.

Those are some shocking numbers for fleet owners knowing that one vehicle’s fines from idling can cost nearly as much as an entire fleet may waste in fuel in a year due to idling. With that much money on the line can your company afford to not have a solution for idling?

We can definitely help save money wasted on idling. With our solutions, companies can set up alerts that reports idling in vehicles to stop the habit before it becomes an issue.

These laws in New York are meant to help the economy and your company can contribute by tracking idling and cutting the engine before your business is forced to cut a check. Idling can cost $20,000 a year in fuel and nearly that much per idling offense, now potentially with citizens incentivized to report violations. Don’t let idling cost your company a load of money.

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16.04
2019

Tips for Doing More With Less

Efficiency is key. It’s a message we’ve preached for years at Actsoft. Getting the job done with the most effective use of manpower in a timely manner will save money. Plain and simple.

Efficiency is important to all companies and businesses, but as time progresses, it will become an even more important part of the trucking industry.

Why? In recent years, there has been a shortage of truck drivers and the number may continue to decline. With a decrease in manpower on the road, it’s crucial that each minute is used in getting the job done and essential that drivers are given the tools they need to succeed on the roadways. After all, the workload for trucking companies isn’t getting any lighter.

With our suite of solutions, both management and drivers will find their days made much easier.

Our tools do everything a management team will need. It will keep track of vehicles with GPS, view driver activity, and improve routing. All the tools necessary to compile reports and have insight into a business’s fleet comes included.

It keeps drivers in mind, too. With it, they can use the route optimization feature to find the best possible path to completing the job and getting them off the roads. Spending less time on the road allows drivers more time to be home with their families. Benefiting the driver and the company, with happier employees.

With the number of truck drivers decreasing, it’s imperative that companies have all the tools necessary to get the job done. The need for truckers isn’t decreasing, so it’s even more important to be able to do more with less.

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11.04
2019

Feature Study: Alerts on Encore

Encore’s Alerts feature provides businesses with an extra dimension of insight into their mobile workforces. While displayed GPS locations of employees during working hours help to ensure that staff are at correct locations, Alerts notify administrators of certain events that occur during the course of a workday and help organizations expand the consistent return on investment they receive from using our solutions.

Geofence Alerts

Alerts bridge the gap between GPS Tracking and Geofences by using both of these features to keep a company’s administrators up to date about their employees’ activities during working hours. As Geofences are digital boundaries that companies can draw around job sites they frequent or areas they would like employees to stay out of, Alerts can be set up to run any time these boundaries are breached by employees or assets. Geofence Alerts are instrumental in protecting equipment from theft or improper use outside of normal working hours, and also improve employee accountability by helping supervisors ensure that staff are where they’re supposed to be when on the clock.

Vehicle Alerts

Fleet vehicles that register certain types of driving behaviors will also trigger alerts. Excessive speeding, aggressive braking, and hard accelerations are three instances where supervisors can receive notifications about the statuses of their convoys. Vehicle events can also be monitored via alerts. These include check engine lights, low battery indicators, and ignition on/off monitoring. Vehicle alerts are valuable to companies because they help improve driver safety, enhance fuel efficiency, and reduce vehicle wear-and-tear, all through the power of data collection and reporting.

As one of the most wide-ranging features of Encore, Alerts increases the versatility of a workforce by helping to keep mobile operations running smoothly. It serves as a money-saving tool that can be used around the clock, allowing your team to leave valuable equipment in the field overnight due to intuitive monitoring. To learn more about the capabilities of this feature and how it can take your business to the next level, schedule a live demo today.

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02.04
2019

Feature Study: GPS Tracking on Encore

Companies employing a mobile workforce are faced with a need to monitor their remote teams during working hours and ensure that operations remain productive. However, keeping tabs on dispersed staff, vehicles, and other assets can be difficult to do all at once. Encore’s GPS Tracking feature is able to eliminate this problem by providing a live view map that displays each relevant position in an intuitive, easy-to-understand format.

What are the benefits of GPS Tracking?

Managing a team of remote employees poses challenges in and of itself, no matter the industry. How can productivity be efficiently monitored by administrators back at a company’s headquarters? Encore’s GPS Tracking feature helps supervisors and executives ensure that their employees are where they need to be during working hours by reporting their near real-time locations.

Many companies also have valuable assets that they require to facilitate routine operations. GPS Tracking helps to bring down costs from wasted time and unnecessary fuel expenditure by making it easier for businesses to leave these pieces of equipment in the field overnight. Due to around-the-clock tracking, your team can experience additional potential benefits such as theft prevention and asset recovery, if something gets misplaced or improperly used.

The versatility of GPS Tracking is another aspect that provides return on investment. As one of the core features of Encore, GPS Tracking works in tandem with multiple other tools that the solution offers, like Job Dispatching, Alerts, and Wireless Forms. Use the near real-time locations of employees to reroute nearby workers to new jobs, receive notifications any time assets enter or exit specified parameters, and even see location-stamped markers whenever a digital form is submitted from the field.

GPS Tracking is Encore’s bedrock feature and remains one of the most important mobile resource management tools available today. Modern-day businesses like yours can use our location-enabled application to enhance productivity, optimize workflows, and manage with ease.

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05.03
2019

The Rise of Luxury Delivery Vans

Not all vehicles are created the same. An F-150 will never beat a Mustang in a race, a Camry won’t outhaul a Tacoma, and an Escalade probably won’t do as well in fuel consumption as a hybrid. There are certain disparities in vehicles that are obvious and aren’t up for debate. But what about this trend of mixing luxury with blue-collar vehicles?

It’s not a new trend, as the New York Times ran a story on the vehicles in 2011, but it’s a trend that still may be hard for many to imagine. These vehicles look like service vans but are larger and infinitely more luxurious. One Business Insider stayed in a luxury van for a week, comparing it to a small apartment.

The trend of utilizing oversized vans customized with lavish amenities has extended its innovation to the office. According to an article from Bloomberg Business, luxury vans are being used as mobile offices to conduct business meetings for CEOs and executives while on long commutes to the office.

Howard Becker, owner of California-based Becker Auto Design, said in an interview for the article with Bloomberg there’s significant revenue in customizing luxury vans for business use.

“Even in the first world, the major metropolitan areas are all behind in infrastructure,” Becker said. “What drives our business is the ability for our customers to get things done even when they’re driving, as opposed to sacrificing that time. The candy red Ferrari is still in the garage for fun on weekends, but they’re thinking, at least on weekdays, ‘I can’t afford to drive myself anymore.'”

To keep the look and feel of having an office like atmosphere inside these luxury vans designers have uniquely designed the vans with Wi-Fi, touchscreen, TVs, and airline pod-style seats, and other amenities can be added.

While they may be of some use for mobile businessmen, do these high-priced vans “on steroids” as the New York Times article referred to them, have any practical use for a fleet owner?

The “apartment on wheels” won’t have a significant impact on large mobile workforces, but there is a “Goldilocks zone” for van size. The Mercedes-Benz Metris is considered to be a van that is just right for fleet owners. Mercedes-Benz has a division of its company dedicated to making service vans and FleetOwner reports that people within the company believe the Metris is their best work.

The Metris is a mid-sized van that has a 5,000-pound towing capacity which is 50% more payload capacity than smaller Mercedes-Benz vans and 45% more cargo volume in a vehicle that can fit into a garage. While the larger luxury vans may take up half a city block, the Metris is efficient for its size. The Metris is powered by a 208-horsepower 4-cylinder engine with a 7-speed transmission.

These vehicles are certainly a high priority for whoever purchases them and can be targeted for theft, like any other service vehicle. If an individual or business is going to invest in such a lavish vehicle, it needs to be protected. One certain way to ensure the safety of these mammoth machines is with an industry-leading asset-tracking software that can be used in conjunction with the vehicle like what is offered at Actsoft.

At the price of $25,995 for mid-sized vans like the Metris, a fleet of service vehicles from a company synonymous with luxury may not be out of the question for some companies. Don’t expect any plumbers to roll around town with a mobile house to fix bathrooms, but performance and luxury don’t have to be mutually exclusive within the service industry or for businessmen on the go.

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20.02
2019

3 Ways Encore’s Traffic Overlay Feature Benefits Businesses

At Actsoft, we’re constantly pushing the boundaries of what our applications can do so you can continue to witness high returns on investment. We do this by adding capabilities on a quarterly basis and rolling out enhancements to our application that refine the power of our existing features, creating new ways for you to improve your business plan.

Traffic Overlay is an enhancement we recently made to Encore’s GPS Tracking feature. Providing color-coded glimpses into near real-time traffic patterns, Traffic Overlay helps your supervisors identify and plan for drivers to take routes that are least affected by roadway congestion. Here are some of the key benefits this tool can provide to businesses like yours:

Less idle time

Use Traffic Overlay to reduce the amount of idle time that your company’s drivers must deal with by having them avoid high congestion areas, whenever it may be possible. As sitting idle in traffic takes a toll on the long-term performance of your vehicles and puts unnecessary stress on your remote employees, keeping your fleet mobile can improve equipment longevity and the mental health of your staff.

Faster response times

The time of both your employees and customers is valuable, especially during critical situations. Use Traffic Overlay to enhance punctuality across your workforce and fulfill the needs of your clientele faster, on average. Dispatchers can use the feature to see what routes are clearest, helping field employees get to the job sites they need to be at quickly.

Lower fuel costs

It’s obvious that a 30-minute drive with open roadways is going to burn less gasoline than an hour-long trip spent mostly in bumper-to-bumper traffic. When played out over the course of a year, this disparity can cause your business’s fuel costs to soar if the most efficient routes aren’t being selected beforehand. Traffic Overlay allows your team to increase its savings by displaying congestion levels in near real-time, making it easy to pick routes that are optimal.

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19.02
2019

Baseball Spring Training and Vehicle Tracking on Truck Day

What do you associate with spring? Punxsutawney Phil? Daylight Savings Time? Warmer weather? Maybe the thought of spring coming should be associated with fleets of trucks headed south.

Truck Day is the day Major League Baseball teams load up their equipment and other player essentials on trucks to head for spring training. For teams, these spring training homes are in Florida for some and Arizona for others. As you can imagine it’s a long way from Boston to Ft. Myers, Florida, or Cleveland to Goodyear, Arizona.

These drivers have the responsibility of transporting a major league organization’s equipment safely and in a timely manner. Baseball players and managers can have the smallest mishap revert them from a 30-year-old man to a 12-year-old. Seriously. It’s ideal to make the driver’s job as easy as possible to save everyone from a player or manager tirade.

Drivers are familiar with pre-trip inspections for safety, but imagine how much easier his job would be if he could do a pre- and post-trip check of the baseball equipment, too. 300 tubs of sunflower seeds? Check. 100 ash bats and 75 maple bats? Check. Keeping the skipper happy? Check.

Whether checking vehicle equipment for safety or going through a rundown of the baseball equipment, the driver’s checklist is simplified with Actsoft. A list of what drivers need to check before and after the journey can be loaded to a mobile device. These lists can contain fields that require photos of the equipment and driver signature to ensure a thorough inspection.

Wireless Forms is the ideal solution for ensuring the equipment makes it intact. A team would have the ability to make it necessary for drivers to take pictures before and after the trip. This would make it so that it’s known by each team the status of the equipment upon arrival at spring training.

Another way to ensure the equipment gets to the spring training site is with a solution like GPS Tracking that makes it easy to manage everything. Our solutions make tracking the trucks simple, alerts management of poor driving habits, and can improve efficiency to the point that reduces the amount of fuel needed for the journey. The team doesn’t need to wonder if the equipment will get to the park on time or if there will be any surprise costs for the trip. Instead, management knows the status of the truck throughout the entire trip.

Baseball, warmer weather, and sunshine are great indicators of spring. Truck Day is what truly kicks it all off and it’s essential that everything gets to its destination on time and securely.

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11.01
2019

Tips for Improving Your Company’s Efficiency

Now, more than ever, distractions abound and it’s increasingly easier to find ourselves veering off our planned trajectories. In our day-to-day lives, this isn’t always such a big deal. But when it comes to being at work, staying focused and working on the project(s) at hand is imperative. Efficiency plays a big role in making sure your business stays profitable. So what can you do to remain focused and moving everything forward? Here are some of our top suggestions.

Follow a routine.
We are creatures of habit. While some may suggest routines can swerve into the lane of the mundane, at the office, they can also help keep you on top of your game, operating like a fine-tuned machine. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to map out your entire day and function like a robot of sorts. Rather, have a regularly scheduled plan for knocking out the things you know need to be addressed on a daily basis (e.g. read and respond to emails in the morning, run daily reports, etc.).

Make lists and sort by urgency.
Is there a ton on your to-do list and you’re pretty sure it can’t all be tackled in a single day? Prioritize everything based on urgency to make sure you address the bigger projects that need to be tended to sooner than later.

Stop multitasking.
Hear us out with this one. Yes, the ability to multitask is often touted as a favorable attribute during the interview process. But, juggling a ton of projects at the same time may not be the most effective way to get them done. Often times it’s better to focus your energies on a single project and see it through to completion — or at least as far as you’re able to take it — before moving on to something else. Stopping mid-task, switching directions, and then going back can cause you to lose your focus and momentum, effectively taking up a lot more time.

Minimize meetings.
Does your company have endless numbers of meetings? Ask yourself if they’re all 100 percent necessary or if you can scale them back and combine some when possible. Regular interruptions can hamper workflow, prolonging the amount of time it takes to get things done. Dialing back the number of meetings you regularly hold lets your employees focus on pressing assignments.

Implement a professional service.
Solutions like the ones we provide are a more official means to increase productivity in the workplace. With functionality like GPS Tracking, workers can be held more accountable for their behavior while on the clock. They need to be where they say they are, and there’s no question about the time it takes to get from point A to point B — and whether they took the most efficient route. Wireless Forms allows them to collect important information, including photos and signatures, much quicker than traditional paper forms, so they can proceed on to the next job sooner than before. Plus, the back office receives all the information almost instantly, giving them a chance to process way ahead of schedule. And with Mobile Timekeeping, your crew can clock in no matter where they are, so instead of wasting time going into the office when they don’t need to, they can immediately start the day by focusing on their responsibilities.

As you can see, with just a few adjustments that are easy enough to implement, you can transform your already successful business into an efficiency machine.

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09.01
2019

Commercial Motor Vehicle Medical Certificates

Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers have long had to comply with various safety precautions to ensure they’re alert on the road during long drives and amid poor driving conditions. One of these mandates is a clean bill of health.

The National Registry of Medical Examiners was created to reduce highway accidents according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Requiring CMV drivers to have up-to-date medical certificates is based on various reports, such as National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) crash investigations, which indicates that improper medical certification of CMV drivers with serious disqualifying medical conditions has directly contributed to fatal and injury crashes.

A school bus and truck collision in New Jersey illustrates the importance of certified medical examiners, according to the NTSB. The school bus driver involved in the crash received his medical certification in January 2012, before medical examiners were required to have training. The FMCSA had no regulatory authority over the examining doctor, there were no federal training or certification programs to ensure that examiners were familiar with the regulations, and there was no national registry of examiners. However, examiners were expected to exercise good medical judgment and carefully evaluate each person on whom they performed a physical examination (Herner, Smedvy, and Ysander 1966).

According to the investigation, in this case, the medical examiner, a chiropractor, never saw the school bus driver before and did not obtain medical records or consults from the driver’s primary care and specialist doctors. The extent to which the medical examiner verbally discussed the driver’s chronic low back pain and diagnosis of alcoholism (and alcohol abuse), which are underlying potentially disqualifying conditions, is not known. Moreover, it is unknown to what extent he discussed the prescription medications he was aware of, even though he wrote on the commercial driver’s license (CDL) form that they do not interfere with driving. Therefore, the NTSB concludes that the CDL medical examiner did not thoroughly evaluate the school bus driver for medical conditions that could have disqualified him from receiving a CDL. The NTSB also concludes that based on the school bus driver’s combination of medical conditions and use of multiple prescription medications, it is likely that he would not have been medically certified to drive a school bus if he had fully disclosed his medical history on the CDL medical certification.
While it’s impossible to know what a driver’s habits are on a daily basis, it’s crucial to put measures in place to ensure the safety of vehicles and passengers on roadways, as illustrated by the New Jersey crash.

Along with required medical examinations by now-certified medical examiners, as well as the newly passed Hours of Service legislation, there are other measures companies themselves can institute to ensure driver safety. GPS tracking has long been a popular tool to maintain watch of driver behavior — which would have been impossible pre-technology. Now, for pennies a day, fleet-based companies, or any business who uses drivers to deliver services or goods, can monitor a host of behaviors.

What can I monitor?

  • Driver speeds
  • Idling
  • Fast braking
  • Travel outside of authorized areas
  • Rapid acceleration

Each of these behaviors can be set up to alert managers and office personnel so that a driver can be notified that they are breaking a rule and must modify their behavior before an accident or other liability happens. Moreover, weekly or monthly reports can be created to get a snapshot of driver activity, to compare behavior from month-to-month or to compare drivers with each other.

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